Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cee Dub on menu planning

Here's another article from my short tenure on ..

Cee Dub is a storyteller -- a craft that he learned while patrolling Idaho’s back country. While on patrol, he got invited into numerous high country camps each day. Many times Cee Dub was invited to pitch his tent and to throw his grub into the common pot. He reciprocated by telling stories and listening to the adventures of hunters and fishermen. Along the way, he learned the finer points of being a camp cook. -- Steven Karoly

Menu planning for the camp cook

This article is used with permission of Back Country Press of Grangeville, Idaho. It's excerpted from Cee Dub's Dutch Oven and Other Camp Cookin' by C.W. "Butch" Welch.

A menu for a group isn't too tough if all you're going to do is line up a bunch of cans, open them and then dump them in a pot. Likewise, hot dogs on a willow stick are easily accomplished without taxing ones creativity. If you're going to be a camp cook worth his salt, it' going to take a little work and planning. Most of us don’t figure it out overnight, but here are some tips.

Try to use recipes with are easy to multiply. For instance, if there are four people in the party or your family, chose or plan the menu for that number. Then if your cousin all of a sudden asks his in-laws to join the group for your trip, all you have to do is double, etc., your recipe to accommodate the extras. Likewise, when I' cooking a one-pot meal in Dutch ovens, I figure out how many people one full Dutch oven will feed. Normally, I figure 6-8 main dish servings per 12" Dutch. It might vary a little with the recipe, the appetites of the group or the weather. If you don' think the weather is important, read on. I've taken the same 5-6 guys on a raft trip in the summer. If the weather is hot, everyone' appetite seems to decline. On the other hand, let it get cold and rainy and the same group of guys will pack away twice the calories per meal.

When planning meals, I always plan for seconds. There is nothing worse than a group of guys who are cranky, surly and still hungry. In addition, I plan on some sort of reserve in case the trip has to extend a day or two. My reserve may just be some rice and beans, but it' a lot better than fried ice and donut holes!

Just who you’re cooking for makes a big difference. For instance, little kids and older folks, as a rule, tend to eat less. On the other hand, a bunch of guys in elk camp are capable of eating everything, including the slowest packhorse.

Cee Dub's books and television show

C.W. "Butch" Welch is the author of Cee Dub's Dutch Oven and Other Camp Cookin' and More Cee Dub's Dutch Oven and Other Camp Cookin'. He is also featured on a 65-minute video titled Dutch Oven and Camp Cooking.

Cee Dub hosts Dutch Oven and Camp Cooking (link no longer works) on PBS. Check your local listings for show times. To order his books or video, go to

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